“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014)
Some fans were offended by the 2012 reboot. I agree that it was a bit soon, but was it really that nefarious of Sony Pictures to not want to lose the rights to the character? Other than being confused as to why Dr. Connors wanted to turn all of New York City into lizards, I enjoyed the film. I had also liked the first two films in the Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” trilogy, but was never as enthralled as everyone else. I wasn’t invested in Peter’s romance with Mary Jane and was always so annoyed by his constant blubbering. Andrew Garfield’s performance reminds me more of the “Spider-Man” animated series which I watched way back in 1994. Tobey Maguire never felt like “my” Spider-Man.
Marc Webb’s reboot franchise really hits its stride here in the second film. Superhero sequels tend to feature multiple villains. There are three in this film. That may seem like too many, but the story balances them out. Paul Giamatti as the Rhino was basically a glorified cameo and that’s fine. Certain villains will never be the main antagonist, so supporting roles will suffice. Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon seemed to be channeling Jim Carrey as Edward Nigma in “Batman Forever.” Funny, because Guy Pearce did the same in “Iron Man 3.” All of a sudden, the nerdy sycophant has become a popular villain again. Once Jamie Foxx actually becomes Electro, the effect was somewhat reminiscent of Dr. Manhattan in “Watchmen.” Dane DeHaan was awesome as Harry Osborn. Peter and Harry’s relationship was depicted differently than in the Sam Raimi trilogy. They are estranged but the actors did a solid job of making the audience believe that they were once close friends. Another deviation is that J. Jonah Jameson is an unseen character. I guess there’s no point in having anyone try to outdo the performance of J.K. Simmons.
Harry and Electro formed an alliance, but it wasn’t forced like it was with Sandman and Venom in “Spider-Man 3.” It was totally justified in the story. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry, which isn’t always the case with real life couples in Hollywood, but they do look a tad too old to just now be graduating from high school. Emma Stone has been playing high school students on and off for twelve years, so it was definitely time to graduate. During their breakup, Andrew Garfield was on the verge of mopey Hayden Christian-like line delivery, but thankfully he pulled back and the scene was successfully. The death of Gwen Stacy actually had people openly weeping in the theater I saw it in. Andrew Garfield was also weeping, but at least he waited for a good reason. Tobey Maguire would always cry at the drop of a hat.
This film had an epic feel to it, whereas the last one was a disjointed origin story, which had to try and live up to “Spider-Man” (2002) without coming across as a retread. Now that Marc Webb’s franchise has its footing, I am looking forward to the next installment.